Wednesday, January 30, 2008

List of Restricted Priests in Lacking

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee keeps a posted list on the web of Archdiocesan priests who have had their ministry restricted because of substantiated reports of sexual abuse of a minor. But I don't understand why the list is not inclusive of priests who have served in this Archdiocese - but do not belong this Archdiocese - who have substantiated reports against them. A case in point is "Fr." Bruce MacArthur - a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, MacArthur has been named in a lawsuit by three women who state that they were abused by him as girls while he was the hospital chaplin at the old St. Joseph's in Beaver Dam. He's already admitted to sexually abusing multiple minors, but there is no mention of him anywhere on the Archdiocesan website (try the search engine yourself. It works for Milwaukee priests under restriction).

I can only imagine the semi-convincing arguments concerning why the Archdiocese would not list this man somewhere on their website, but none of them seem very convincing. Why do lawyers have to pull teeth to get the Archdiocese to post information that should already be public. Even the aforementioned list of Milwaukee priests under restriction was only done after the metaphoric equivalent of 5 root canals.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Dutch Domincans Say Sacrament of Eucharist More Important than Ordination

Last September, the Dutch Dominican Order distributed Kerk & Ambt (Church & Ministry) to all 1300 parishes in the Netherlands. Within the Netherlands, communion services have been running rampant for years because of the priest shortage. At many parishes, rather than deny people communion because their parish has run out of previously consecrated hosts, the parish will add unconsecrated hosts beforehand without letting the congregation know.

The document states: "Though in theory the Eucharist is said to be the center of the church's liturgy, celebrating it is in fact made dependent on the person presiding at it, which in fact makes ordination the most important sacrament." This is a sad, but true assessment of our church.

In response, the Order wanted to make the Eucharist the center of the Church's life again by urging congregations to bring forth their own priestly candidates, whether man, woman, married, single, gay, or straight. These candidates should be presented to the local bishop. If the bishop refuses to ordain them, the present emergency situation would make it alright to have that candidate celebrate Mass. The document states of appropriate candidates: "For such a function we think first of all of the pastoral workers, male and female, who have been officially appointed, but also of the many volunteers. These men and women are the heart of the local community, often more so, in face, than the ordained priests [who are spread about among multiple parishes]."

Earlier this month, the Vatican decided to take no disciplinary action against the Dutch Dominicans who distributed the document or the three theologians who authored the document. They are asking that an "official" Vatican response to the document be distributed to all the parishes that Kerk & Ambt was distributed.

Kerk & Ambt is an excellent theological work and worth checking out. It is also of note that the Vatican (under Benedict) has not chosen to silence or expel the authoring theologians - very un-John Paul of him - and that's a positive sign for the future of our Church.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fornication - Is It All Bad?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2353 states: "Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young."

While I have no problem with the last sentence regarding "grave scandal" where the young (high schoolers) are involved, what about with adults who have taken the time to inform their conscience? The only "official" teaching I see against fornication is that sex is only for the good of spouses and the generation of children. But, if one agrees with the logic in the previous blog entry that sex need not always have the generation of children in mind, perhaps there is wiggle room for responsible sex between adults in certain situations. I think fornication may be good within the context of a loving relationship where both individuals believe that their action is healthy and will not cause harm, but joy & love for the other individual. I believe I have seen this situation with in certain adult relationships, though I have never seen this situation am0ng high school students.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, January 14, 2008

Christian Marriage in the New Millennium

The "traditional" Catholic view of Christian marriage is that it is a vocation in life like a religious vocation or a celibate vocation, with the purpose of having children to found a "domestic church." And as far as vocations go, that's about the only three that exist in the church.

I find this view of marriage outmoded in its view of married life and the official meaning of vocation too limited. Our Christian vocation in the widest sense of the word should be of the greatest importance in our lives, whether this means married life, priesthood, prison ministry, social worker, volunteer work, being a cook, private prayer, bus driver, etc. In whatever way we discern the Christian call, THAT very well could be our vocation in life.

After that, it is seeing how everything else fits into that Christian vocation, including marriage. Perhaps marriage fits in easily, but depending on an individual's vocation, certain marriages may be not work out or simply be unwise, even where love is concerned. And of course, in this view of marriage, having children is not necessarily an essential part of marriage or the marriage sex act. Again, it needs to fit into the vocations of the individuals. Whether the marriage is between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or two women, has no importance when measured with if the marriage fits into the vocation of the individual members.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, January 7, 2008

ELCA Does Not Equal Liberal Catholic

A prior comment thought that this blog sounded a lot like the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) church of which s/he used to be a member. While I am whole-heartedly in favor of greater ecumenical relations, for our two denominations to have a lot in common, there is at least on striking difference - Christian anthropology.

Despite what some Catholics say, traditional Catholic teaching states that we are basically good individuals. We are a little off course and we could use some of God's grace and liberation to put us back on track. Lutheran theology (and even every liberal Lutheran pastor I've met) states that we are like a piece of dung - basically deplorable to God. It is faith in the paschal mystery that allows us (dung that we are) to be covered with a layer of white beautiful snow. We look pretty now in the eyes of God, but underneath, we are still rather repulsive. And while Catholic theology is very diverse, Lutheran theology is very much rooted in this Christian anthropology that I cannot buy into. Since the commenter did not share any other personal info, I can only assume they may be ignorant of this difference in Catholic and Lutheran theology and joined the Catholic church because of the its erroneous teaching about apostolic succession or the like.

A Faithful Catholic